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Canadian Housing Starts – September 11, 2018

Canadian housing starts declined 2 per cent on a monthly basis in August to 201,000 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The trend in Canadian housing starts continued to moderate lower, averaging 214,000 units SAAR over the past six months.

In BC, total housing starts increased 8 per cent on a monthly basis to 46,000 units SAAR and were up 29 per cent year-over-year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were up 11 per cent to an annual rate of 37,000 units SAAR while single detached fell 4 per cent to 9,100 units SAAR. Compared to August 2017, multiple units starts were up 45 per cent while single detached starts were 11 per cent lower.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC:

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were down 2 per cent on a monthly basis to 24,800 units SAAR as multiple units starts dipped 5 per cent from July. Compared to this time last year, total starts in Vancouver were 18 per cent higher. The City of Vancouver and Burnaby accounted for over half of new starts in August.
  • In the Victoria CMA, housing starts jumped 45 per cent from July to 7,050 unit SAAR and were more than triple the pace of starts from August 2017 due to a surge of new multiple unit starts.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, new home construction doubled on a monthly basis to 3,950 units SAAR, driven by strong apartment starts. On a year-over-year basis, however, total starts were down 35 per cent. The first 8 months of the year have seen a 29 per cent decrease in single detached and a 28 per cent decline in multiple units compared to the record setting level of starts in 2017.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA fell 71 per cent on a year-over-year basis as very few multiple unit projects got underway in August. On a monthly basis, starts fell 80 per cent, following a surge in multiple units starts in July.